Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was scratched from Monday night's scheduled start because of back spasms.
“He’s been feeling it. This time of year, guys feel it a lot,” Boston manager Terry Francona said before the game against Toronto. “But on the plane last night (from New York) he tried to get comfortable and didn’t. I think he thought he’d wake up and take a hot shower and go about his business. And when that didn’t happen, he called me. … We said this doesn’t make sense, and he kind of agreed.”
Michael Bowden started against the Blue Jays instead. Francona did not say when Beckett is expected to pitch again, and Beckett was not available for comment before the game.
“We’re going to see what to do,” Francona said, adding that the rest could turn out to be beneficial for the playoffs. “We’re going to try and turn what was a negative today into a positive, whether it’s a rest or pitching in a couple of days. … We’re probably going to just skip his turn, but we haven’t made a decision yet.”
Also on Monday, left-hander Jon Lester, a Bellarmine Prep graduate, played long toss and didn’t report any problems with the quadriceps muscle that was hit by a line drive against the New York Yankees on Friday night. He said he did not expect to miss his start Thursday.
Injury bug bites Dodgers
Outfielder Manny Ramirez was out of the Dodgers’ lineup Monday because of a sore left hamstring, the same problem that forced third baseman Casey Blake to return early to Los Angeles to be treated by a team doctor.
The Dodgers also were without infielder Ronnie Belliard who injured his groin while running the bases in the ninth inning Sunday. The Dodgers are being cautious because Belliard has had previous groin problems.
Ramirez was available to pinch hit against the Pirates, but Belliard is expected to be out a couple of days — probably for a two-game series in San Diego that begins on Tuesday. Belliard underwent an MRI exam and got an injection before leaving Pittsburgh.
Johnson to pitch for Marlins
Florida Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson is set to start today against the Atlanta Braves after being scratched from his last appearance because of the flu.